Okey Sampson, Aba
Benjamin Okezie Kalu is the member-elect for Bende Federal Constituency. He was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He speaks on Abia State APC stakeholders’ endorsement of the aspiration of the former governor of Abia State and senator-elect for Abia North; Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu to become the deputy senate president in the 9th National Assembly.
Abia State APC chapter in a recent meeting gave backing to the aspiration of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu to become the deputy senate president. Why was the decision taken?
They say charity begins at home and Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu cannot be contesting for any principal position of the National Assembly without getting the blessing of his immediate constituency, senatorial district and state. I think the endorsement from the region to the state of Kalu’s aspiration has shown that the people know he is well experienced and as a ranking member of the National Assembly, having been there before, he is capable of occupying the position of a principal office. The endorsement is a step in the right direction.
Why do you think the position of the deputy senate president should be zoned to the South East?
It is zoned to the South, while the position of the Senate president is zoned to the North. If you remember when Kalu was speaking the previous day, he said that the position of the Senate president has always gone to where the president comes from. When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was there as the president, the Senate president came from the South and now that President Muhammadu Buhari is there, it’s only fair for it to come from the North. So, as long as we have two political zones represented in the distribution of powers at the National Assembly, I’m sure to that extent, it is fair to zone the position of Deputy Senate president to the South East. But what we are saying is that the South East should not be removed from major key positions in the National Assembly. There was a huge paradigm shift from the way the South East voted for APC in 2015 to what it is in this 2019 and that was made possible through the instrumentality of the hard work of individuals like Kalu and other prominent people including myself.
Some APC members were accused of betraying the party during the last election, what do you think should be done to such individuals?
Honestly, in every election, you will have people who are betrayals against the loyalists who will go all out to make sure they achieve the objectives and mission of the party. That played out during the last elections and it was very disappointing that a lot of people we had confidence in did not do well. And the result from Abia State especially would have been better if there were no betrayals. If these people are discovered and there is clear evidence that they were disloyal to the party, that they played anti- party activity, definitely, our constitution provides that they have to be punished. So, we will not be importing the punishment, it is already there in our constitution. This will be done to instil discipline because the party has to instil discipline in her members especially in the South East geopolitical zone. We need people to be under good leadership, the Igbo find it difficult to take instructions, they find it difficult to be under leadership, so, we can invoke the sword, the punitive measure of the party with regard to anti -party activities and bring it down on those who misbehaved during the elections and I think it will call the other people to order and make them to seat up in the coming election because the journey to 2023 has already started.
Some APC members in the state are talking about the party retrieving its stolen governorship mandate at the tribunal. Do you think APC won the governorship election in Abia in 2019?
It’s for the tribunal to decide, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the winner; if the candidate feels otherwise, he should approach the tribunal. Thank God, our candidate has gone to the tribunal and it will be sub judice for me to comment on the matter. But going by what happened during the election, I think we should have a good case.